‘Winning the War’ for Marriage Equality?


Love, Joy, Feminism is one of my favourite blogs, and has been for a long time. Libby Anne’s writing has a wonderful combination of clarity and empathy that I always look forward to reading. A couple of weeks month or so ago (can you tell I’m a little behind on responding to things?) she wrote about marriage equality. Hardline anti-LGBTQ US evangelicals are losing support for their position not only in the general population, but in Millennials within their own communities. There’s some lovely looking graphs at her post, by the way- go check it out!

Libby Anne describes this, happily, as anti-LGBTQ evangelicals losing not only the individual state ‘battles’ against equality, but the ‘war’ as well. If we’re talking about marriage equality in the United States, this is undoubtedly true. If you widen your lens to take in my own Western Europe as well as some parts of South America, it stays that way. In these parts of the world more LGBT people are entitled either to legal equality- or at the very least some legal protections- than ever before.

Does that mean we’re winning the war, though? I’m not sure. But it definitely doesn’t mean that it’s okay to see “marriage equality throughout the United States” as the war that needs to be won. It doesn’t even mean that “marriage equality throughout the United States” is the war that needs to be won by USians.

There’s a parochialism to a lot of USian thought. You have a massive country that has been exercising a cultural dominance (among other things) over huge swathes of the rest of the world for decades. Lifetimes, even. Like all social relations borne of inequality, we in the rest of the world pay a lot more attention to you than you do to us. We know more about you than vice-versa. Non-USians internalise US concerns and understand some of the nuances of US culture(s) in a way that is not reciprocated.

Not reciprocated, that is, in all ways except one. The average USian doesn’t have the understanding of Irish (or German, Argentinian, Ugandan or Thai) politics and society that we do of yours, but this hasn’t stopped the US from actively interfering in other countries. Sometimes this is overt militarism. Sometimes it’s more subtle, but no less real. Take here in Ireland, where antichoice forces are bankrolled by American backers. People who have never met us campaigning for laws that will never affect them. Similarly, when you look outside your borders you can see that many homophobic USian fundamentalist evangelicals have set their sights outside your country and are busy interfering elsewhere to drum up homophobia, transphobia, and legal and physical violence against LGBTQ people. It’s not that the war is being won. Battles may be being won, but front lines don’t end at a particular nation’s border. The war is shifting, being taken by USians to places where most USians aren’t even looking.

The progress made in Western and Central Europe, the Americas and Australia on marriage equality and other LGBTQ+ rights and protections is incredible, although even in these parts of the world we’ve a long way to go. There are battles being won. But the rest of the world- Eastern Europe, Asia, the vast majority of Africa and the Middle East- matter every bit as much. Especially when Western forces have been interfering in most of these parts world for centuries, we don’t get to wash out hands of the results of our ongoing interference. Ever.

The war is nowhere close to being won.

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Sceptics, Religion and Queers, and some Rather Exciting News


Do you know how tough it can be to sit on incredibly exciting news for days on end, while you get things in order for the big announcement? Especially if you happen to be the kind of person who likes talking about things so much that they habitually do it in public for all the internet to see? And if your news is that you’re now going to be writing for one of your favourite sites on the entire internet? It is really tough.

Which is why I’m both excited and relieved to be able to link you to my first post at Queereka. Queereka, if you’re not familiar with it (though you should be) is the Skepchick network’s LGBTQ sister-site. The Skepchick network is a ridiculously awesome group of sites which have in common a feminist, sceptical perspective, and I couldn’t be more chuffed to be able to write for them.

And with that, on to some linking!

Why don’t LGBTQ people leave their religion after their communities harm them?

It’s a question you see a lot, around the skeptical side of the internet. You’ll hear yet another case of an LGBTQ person being treated horrendously by their religious community. Maybe it’s another kid being kicked out of home after they come out. Maybe it’s another teacher being fired from the job they excel in after their employers find out who they’ve married. Maybe they’re not as lucky as that kid or that teacher, and it’s their body or their life that’s been put at risk by the religious communities they come from.

We see these things happening, and every single time, someone wonders the same thing: why on Earth are there any LGBT religious people left? Why aren’t LGBT people hightailing it out of their religions, haemorrhaging from their churches, mosques, temples and synagogues without a backward glance?

Continue to my answer- and don’t forget to let me know what you think!- over at Sceptics, Religion and Queers, Oh Myyy.

 

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Who’s for trans rights?


SolidariTy is a joint initiative by LGBT Noise and Transgender Equality Network Ireland. It’s all about getting cis people- in particular LGBs, but straight cis people should get their butts on board too- to stand up and be counted and support trans people’s rights. They’ve just released a video (yep, that’s me in the blue). Check it out:

I love that something like SolidariTy is happening. It’s not enough for cis people to give quiet thumbs-up to our trans friends and then go on about our lives. Trans people in Ireland don’t have the same rights as cis people do. Trans people are at terrifyingly high risk of being  fired from their jobs, having an even harder time than the rest of us actually getting work in the first place, ostracised from families and communities, denied necessary healthcare, and of suffering from mental health difficulties, self-harm and suicide. Trans people are denied legal gender recognition in this country, and the government’s proposed legislation to remedy this is outdated and damaging. That legislation would force people to divorce, it would force trans kids and teenagers to spend years with documents that don’t match their identities, and it would enshrine the idea that to be trans is to be mentally ill.

That’s no way for our country to treat its citizens, and no way for our society to treat its members. If you’re here in Ireland, keep an eye on SolidariTy to see how you can help change things.